Friday, November 22, 2013

Effing B!

Excuse the semi-expletive, FNB… but, right now, your acronym is phonetically aligned with my feelings towards you.

I’ve trusted you for a long time… well, as much as anyone can possibly trust a bank. But, I chose you as the keeper of MY hard-earned moolah, and have recommended many to choose you as well.
The things I’ve valued most about our relationship so far is that you’ve given me free reign to administer my own funds online wherever I am; saving me the time, money and discomfort (ergo PAIN) of commuting and waiting in long queues to be served at your physical branch. With the SMS notification system, I also feel that more secure knowing that, should anyone other than me be fiddling with my finances, I’d be alerted very quickly!

However, our relationship is currently on the rocks. I’m a low maintenance client, in my guise of online banker, and it is very rare that I call upon you to assist me while you draw a pretty penny.

Things began going South when I came in to apply for a credit card some time ago, much to my chagrin. Increased international travel for work justified the need, but because I no longer earn a textbook salary, due to being an independent consultant, you just wouldn’t budge… despite having access to several years’ history of transactions in my ONLY account vouching for my financial stability! I didn’t want to use the card for credit. I was already entirely uncomfortable with the idea of having one in the first place, and only needed it to save me financial embarrassment should I be in a country where my debit card is not accepted. I’ve always been a cash buyer and NEVER live beyond my means…that should be a positive thing. Ironically, I’ve often been denied things because I don’t have a credit record! How is not having a credit record worse than having one at all? I still can't get my head around that.

Anyway, moving along… what REALLY got my goat, most recently, is that it has been near impossible to change my address! I moved into a granny cottage, and when I finally found the time to come into your branch (at my expense and inconvenience) to change my address, my copy of the lease agreement in hand, you turned me away telling me you needed the original, or a police-certified copy of it. The rental agency that signed me up had the original and it was only valid for 6 months anyway.

By now, nearing the lapse of the 6-month lease agreement, I approached my landlords with my dilemma. At the end of this month I shall be renewing my lease agreement with them personally, on a month-to-month basis, until I decide where I want to go next. They happily typed me up a letter in the interim, confirming my residence on their property, with an original signature by my landlady (who is an ADVOCATE, to boot) at the bottom. The same lady I transfer my rent payment to each month via my only FNB account. I came through again, and was turned away because this letter was not, apparently, acceptable. And… not a morsel of concern about wasting my time.

You have got to be kidding me! 

Me, myself and I were there in physical form,  with my ID book and letter from the landlady who I pay rent to… to change MY address for MY account that holds MY money so that MY personal banking mail reaches ME! 

I understand the reason for bureaucracy and red tape in most instances, but this is taking it too far. And I continue worrying about who's now opening my mail. Read the bold sentence above again and convince me otherwise, I beg you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Shirley Valentine

I took my mother and her best friend to see Lisa Bobbert-McIlroy (Lisa) as Shirley Valentine at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre last Friday night.
We had all seen the movie years ago and it had touched us all in its way.
Well, we were not to be disappointed…the palpable involvement that live theatre offers, for both the actor and the audience, remains unmatched.

And then there is Lisa. She is “charming” incarnate. She achieves perfection not in flawlessness, per se, but in wholeness. One simply has to admire the fact that she remembers all those lines… and stoksiealleen. All eyes on her… no other characters to divert our attention whilst she catches her breath or flips through her memory banks… bearing in mind that she moves from one performance to the next in steady flow.

Lisa’s portrayal of Shirley Valentine was REAL. Natural. She was Shirley Valentine, no question about it. We were in that kitchen with her… and her wall… and in Greece… and we were all rendered good listeners. Never a dull moment, with constant eye contact, impeccable timing, facial expressions and accents… she made us laugh and made us cry… she made us think and made us want to try…
And, by the way Lisa, you have legs to die for, and you can whistle like a male hooligan soccer fan!

The set was grand, which is something I have come to expect from the King. Attention to the smallest detail, even the taps had water come from them! She really did cook chips and egg while we there… had we been closer, I am certain we would have smelt it.

I also noticed the lighting effects… subtle but effective… dimming as Shirley elegantly and humbly slipped into the depths of her own pathos, betwixt her upbeat musings.

The steadfast quality of Steven’s direction shone through as always. KickstArt Theatre Productions has become a force to be reckoned with, and I am a proud South African in the wake of it. We have world-class talent right here on our own doorstep.

The only criticism I can deliver, and not for wanting to, is that our hearing-impaired friend sometimes battled to hear Shirley in row J.

Other than that, what a poignant yet uplifting piece of theatre… just the right length. We left for home, emotionally and spiritually satiated… grateful and a-dreaming... knowing that we are not, as we may sometimes think, alone.

The Massage Chair

So, I spontaneously paid ten Ront to be kneaded for five minutes in one of those massage chairs in a shopping mall, on my way out.

The female assistant who received my money was temporarily confused by my request to wipe down the chair before I occupied it.  “You do know that sweat is really dilute urine, and that some people don’t wash often or have dandruff or even ringworm?” I cautioned. She arranged a spray bottle filled with what appeared to be a window-cleaning product, using a cloth that would probably be green again after laundering. Nonetheless, I proceeded to climb into the chair without further comment in appreciation of her effort, and because of her sweet disposition.

She switched it on.

Gradually it reclined as the knobs hidden in its framework came to the surface and worked my muscles. I was left in a somewhat confused state, really enjoying the sensation whilst feeling hellishly embarrassed that the chairs were facing passing shoppers in their hordes. Why don’t they have them face the other way, goodness me! I put on my sunglasses to block out the circumstances and in case my eyes rolled back with pleasure, maintaining my best poker-face.  The leg extensions squeezed around my calves, whilst my spine, neck and back of my head got rhythmically pulsed and pounded.  It was, indeed, very effective.

And, then… a singular, large and bellicose knob suddenly thrust up into my coccyx, and I yelped!  After that, I had the giggles as I covered my face with my hands… remembering I was in public.  The lady assistant seemed to know exactly what had happened as she said, “What’s wrong, Dahling… is it the one at the bum?” “Yes!” I exclaimed, “That knob, I can do without!” Again, peals of laughter…

Buttock bump aside,  I’d venture to say… it’s not a bad replacement for a boyfriend.  Good listener and tireless massage therapist. Comfortable and flexible. Has excellent rhythm. Can be switched on at the press of a button, and at whim. Just saying. But… naaaah. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What She Learnt...

There’s this girl, lady, woman, human being, chemical concoction all wrapped into one who… like most, many, if not all of us… made a mistake in love, for love, or in pursuit of love… or, at least, the idea of it.

She’s not short of love as it emerges in its different forms or guises… but she was contentedly single for a long time, and then suddenly realized one random day and on similar sporadic occasions…

perhaps whilst sobbing during a romantic comedy or a ballad at full volume (this is authentic – Bridget Jones copied her),
or whilst crying on her way back from a back massage realizing how touch-deprived she really was,
or whilst stalking a greying couple ‘gefoofling ‘on a park bench saying ‘awwww’ a lot,
or whilst cooking a meal fit for an army… for one,
or whilst carrying a heavy burden (whether it be physical or emotional) all by herself,
or whilst unconsciously rocking a basket trolley in Checkers to and fro as though it were a pram,
or whilst lying awake in a cold bed during the ungodly hours of the night,

… that human beings, no matter how good they may be (or think they may be) at doing it, are not designed to be alone.

She had resigned herself to the fact that her story was not going to be someone else’s and that it would unfold as it should, eventually.  Bottom line, though, is that it remains perfectly acceptable and natural to crave human companionship and we are emotionally and psychologically designed to long for someone to share our lives with. She surrendered to that feeling, from time to time.

So, jumping through the how, when,  and what happened hoops, we get to hear what she learnt from her last mistake…and a real humdinger of a mistake it was. And remember that she is her own person… a very independent, but one-man-woman, faithful Fido, relationship-type-girl… so the rambling ahead may not make any sense to you at all if you don’t fit that bill.

1. Don’t rush into things

It is true when they say that fools rush in.
Don’t rush in even if you are catching a whiff of the forties, hurtling mercilessly towards you (or you to it?).
Don’t rush in even if he walked into your life, serendipitously, the day after you aggressively prayed for him (like King Lear in the storm)… or drew a card from an Angel deck you shuffled really well that said you would finally meet the man of your dreams.
Don’t rush in even if he swiftly, even miraculously, ticked almost every item on that ‘ideal man’ list, which you wrote under duress by your Taoist friend who’s into visualization.
Don’t rush in even though you’re beyond flattered that he seems so taken with you too, in the wake of your wilting self-esteem spanning romance. 
Don’t rush in because your hormones are screaming and you’re so delighted to realize that ‘the engine still starts and runs’ but you’re afraid it will cut out.
Don’t rush in because you lost two friends in tragic accidents only weeks prior to his entrance, coupled with an unexpected cancer scare… and suddenly feel that life is desperately short.
Don’t rush in because you’re changing your tack to see what the new brings.  Don’t rush in because you’re afraid to lose his attention / interest, knowing full well that there are a host of chicks waiting in the wings to give him exactly what he wants… and at the drop of a hat.   
Don’t rush in even if you are worried that if you leave ‘it’ any longer, it won’t be a photographer you’ll need for your eventual wedding, but a graphic designer and Photoshop guru.
Don’t rush in because the fairy tales and movies say it’s okay and could well turn out for the best.
Don’t rush in because you want to or need to, because neither applies – if you do decide to rush in, because the abandoned gay told you to go for it, be sure you’re prepared to ‘take it like a man / woman’, whatever happens, with your feet firmly on the ground.

She says,  “You don’t know someone, until you know them.” Profound, I know, right? She says, “Quality takes time – you won’t know if the muffin recipe was in fact good, or just how good, if you don’t bake it in the oven long enough.” Okay, don’t know why she said that... think it’s time to move on to the next lesson learnt.

2. Be YOU. Always be natural – if that’s not good enough, then it’s not good enough...

Never compromise who or what you are… you can compromise when it comes to one night here and there watching grown men chasing an oval ball that doesn’t bounce properly whilst grabbing each others’ balls – that kind of thing, sure. But never compromise your essence – that is, your personal belief system, your morals and your values. Of course, you can welcome challenge… but if your notions survive challenge, then they are strong enough… and, what’s more, they are YOURS. It is so very important to be equally yoked.
Who has the energy to keep up an act for any prolonged period of time anyway?  Just hang loose and be you (I said hang loose, not be loose). If he is that elusive ‘one’, he’ll even find your irritating or somewhat icky bits amusing or endearing… if he loves you at your worst, then he’ll love you always.
Of course you want to please him, but NEVER do that at your own expense. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not so that he can think you are ticking his list of the ideal woman. If you have to change to make him like you even more, than he isn’t liking you, now is he? You are not in relationship to become what you think each of you needs.  You are in relationship because, for some reason, you just work so well together, you bring out the best in each other and life is that much more beautiful and interesting when you’re together than when you’re apart…  the excitement and intrigue of the ‘honeymoon phase’ will wear off, that is a given… but there is no reason for the phase following that to be even better, albeit it in a slightly different way.
She says, “Do you want REAL? Then you need to be REAL and get REAL.”

3. Trust your instincts implicitly...

So, this is a tough one to articulate clearly, because you can be in love-bubbling denial and call it your instinct too, right?
It can be very confusing, especially when hormones and elation stuff up your chemistry (albeit deliciously) and leave you thick.  All fine and well, but somewhere down the line your internal compass’ dial might swing wildly, your core’s alarm system might beep, your mine’s ‘canary’ might splutter in the vestige of toxic (to you!) fumes, and you will be in some kind of conflict with what’s happening from the outside to what’s happening  inside.
Don’t ignore it, don’t push it away and don’t deny it. There’s a lot going on inside of you and around you that you are not in tune with most of the time… and it is all about resonation. You don’t have to react violently or do anything drastic just yet. You don’t even have to take immediate action. But what you do need to do is listen to it… listen closely… and be mindful and cautious as you wait to see what it all means.

She says, “If it feels wrong, it is usually because there is something wrong.”

4. Living together...

She grew up shunning ‘living in sin’, but she has long since changed her mind about that. To get married and then move in together may emerge a terminal oversight … two people making a vow to love each other till death do them part extends beyond mere love. Cohabitation incompatibility can trample that lovey-dovey stuff in no time at all… and even result in death! But that is a subject on its own... moving along.

Living together is very revealing, and in so many ways.

She says: “You don’t know someone fully until you live with them.” And the profundity continues…

When to move in together is up to both of you to decide.  It might seem in conflict after point 1 of not rushing in… but you could expedite finding out whether or not this union actually works  by moving in together (carefully, now) somewhere down the line and save yourself a lot of time. You see, if he is a liar and a cheat, a professional Lothario, an unscrupulous juggler of women, a closet-full of skeletons, a schizophrenic psychopath, a Wednesday-night cross dresser, suffers from paraphilic infantism, is addicted to pornography…  all of this could be easily hidden from you if you just saw each other on weekends,  etc. Your relationship could continue for years in blissful ignorance… and, besides, if after a decent while you both don’t have the urge to share domicile, there’s probably something wrong there anyway.

She says, “Trust me, sometimes there can be things which you never would have thought and still cannot believe you never saw (or perhaps did not want to see)or imagined could be true. Serious things. Things that can render the person you think you love a complete stranger… someone who did not, in fact, exist.”

Broken hearts are mended with time… but HIV and STDs are here to stay. You need to be sure you’re entirely prepared to put your life in this other person’s hands, because that is what it comes down to I’m afraid.

5. Purge, forgive yourself and move on...

Of course, this is not her first mistake, and she continues hoping that it will indeed be her last one.
You have to forgive yourself for making mistakes… this funny thing called Love and all its siblings and half-siblings and hill-billy cousins and pets and distant circus relatives… it’s all a gamble. It’s all a risk. But, having said that… if you continue living only to protect yourself, you will never be touched by anything.
And don’t look around at ALL your married or coupled friends who can’t take their hands off each other and just radiate happiness and contentment and are still this way after 15 years of marriage and two perfect kids… and think that this failed relationship is just happening or has just happened to you. That you’re just plain unlucky and have been short-changed.  That you have officially missed the boat.
Don’t let your internal dialogue be: “You stupid cow - what did being good get you in life, really? A head girl badge, that’s all rusted and forlorn in a leachate-producing cell in some landfill site? Look at you, you’ve wasted so much time on training a few men to be a wonderful husband to someone much younger and more beautiful than yourself. Your ovaries are fast approaching raisin-status. Get over yourself and stop being so fussy – stay happy solo or settle happily.”
Balderdash. Comparisons are odious – you’ll find you’re comparing  everyone else’s highlight reel with your background scenes. Nothing is always as it seems.  And nothing is guaranteed to last forever (she gets lump in her throat and a crease in her brow as she reflects on this – and then switches to reconsidering botox). And some of the most beautiful female celebrities have also been dumped, divorced, duped, cheated on and so on. It happens. Shit happens!

If you can’t believe this happened to you, then your Ego is too big or getting way too much airtime… give yourself a break and send it to its kennel. At some point someone was interested in or loved you, and you didn’t feel the same way. Even though you may not carry one morsel of bad character akin to your mistake, you too… my Dear, have broken someone’s heart or hurt them.

You have to forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know until you found it out. 
And then be grateful you found it out sooner rather than later and that you emerged practically unscathed (yes, it could be worse… far, far worse).

The best thing you can do with a mistake is make sure you have learnt something from the experience that will positively serve your gut-feels, choices and outlook in the future.   You will have learnt something more about yourself, there’s no doubt about that. There are some facets of yourself you just will never know until you reflect it off other people ‘in relationship’.  And, the better you know yourself, the closer you’ll get to knowing what makes you truly happy… and then you can get on with it!

She says, “There are many unsavoury characters out there who are Masters of Deceit. There are some genuinely good people out there too, which may or may not be right for you, or you for them.  You may be bummed, but you simply must tarry on forward. Unless you want to be the monument erected to commemorate the mistake (who is moving on joyfully without you)?”

6. Don’t let one PRICK burst your bubble...

Believe that what you really want is still coming. Figure out what you really want first.
Believe that you deserve it and that everything is going to be all right. That everything is as it should be.
When you’re ready to step out and try again, do your best not to make the next potential heart’s fold pay for ‘the mistake’ before him and do not paint him with the same brush before you’ve even seen his undercoat.
Treat every relationship differently and with respect until it is not deserved.
Realize that when two people are involved, there are already at least two vantage points… two complex human beings not necessarily always in sync… two internal dialogues on the go that are rarely privy to the other’s utterances.

When you find ‘it’ she doesn’t believe it will be that much work. It will just work. It won’t feel like work. It will feel right. And survive the test of time.

Until then, cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Find a source of happiness elsewhere, but most of all from within… because the worst mistake you can ever make is pin all your happiness onto a significant other loving you. That just isn’t healthy.

And besides, you’re much more attractive (physically and transcendentally) in a confident, content and positive state and more likely to invite the right kind of interest from the right kind of person. People gravitate towards people that make them feel alive or good when they are around them. Tell me I am wrong about that, she dares you.

Until ‘it’ happens… go visit your mum or aunty and show them how much you love them. Walk in the forest and thank God for your working legs. Cuddle your dog who is always happy to see you. Kiss a friendly parakeet in the pet store. Have coffee with a friend, buy a stranger a gift, dance in the shower… do something, anything, nothing… but do NOT stew, chew on and obsess about a mistake... a failed romance. You know that what you focus on only magnifies. Get it out of your system as quickly as possible and carry on growing and nurturing your better self. 

Just surrender and be… and you’ll see.

Yes, it might be another mistake… or it might not be… but you will find out soon enough.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lesson for the Unsuspecting

How I know that john birchel is a sobriquet, amongst other things.

So, yesterday I received a random contact request on Skype from a john birchel, in the lowercase, yes.

Note the following clues that he is not who he presents himself to be.

· The photo is blurry (low pixelate), probably having been downloaded from Google image.
· His name and surname is typed in lowercase… no proud American male official would do that.
· Who puts a photo of himself in uniform next to the American flag and then has to state in ‘About’ that he is from the USA?
· His brief bio is typed with horrendously poor grammar, syntax and spelling. He is too old for me to blame social media and smartphones for his sub-par English. Even when I edit his bio, he still sounds like a foreign caveman: My name is John Birchel from USA. I am a born again Christian. I am searching for God-fearing woman as wife (sic).
· Who does that? Is the fact that he is a born again Christian supposed to serve as a default CV of trust? What respectable man lets the whole world know he is hunting for a ‘woman as wife’.

Even if, by some lenient stretch of the imagination… lowercase john birchel is a real man but has a Finnish father, didn’t finish matric and is good with his hands rather... that lowercase john birchel is a little technology-challenged, and genuinely looking for a wife, albeit Rambo-style, because he is just so gatvol of not having anything to come home to… even with all of that I wouldn’t be interested in the slightest because:

· I have grammar-nazi DNA.
· His hunting style makes me feel pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen already.
· I don’t like this as a ‘How We Met’ story.
· 'He' doesn’t exist (and it will take a lot to convince me otherwise).

But, my bullsh*t detector is so finely-tuned, thanks to extensive (oft traumatic) training at the University of Life, that I just know the dude or chick or hermaphrodite or eunuch behind this lowercase alias is Timbuktu-far from what I’d be interested in communicating with.  Besides, I anticipate that within 2 weeks (no, make that 1 week) he'll profess his undying love for me. He'll tell me that he has finally found his soul mate. He'll pick up on my desire to have children and want to be the father. Gosh, he'll fill whatever holes I have in my life, no doubt! Then he'll tell me that his wealth (which will finance our glorious life together) is locked up in a 32-day call-up, but that he cannot wait to come and visit me (I am driving him crazy with passion)... and would I please send him some money for the flight. He'll pay me back sooner rather than later... blah blah blah.

So, I block. That’s what you do for lowercases like these. Unless you’re game, of course.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

SPLIT-ting Headache!

It’s time to write about one of my pet social peeves: restaurant bill splitting.

I first experienced it during my post-university year stint in the UK, introduced at that time to the colloquialism: whip-round. I went out with a bunch of Kiwi, Safyr and Pommy females for dinner at a popular English Pub.  I had never really savoured the luxury of eating out whilst growing up, nor as a student… because money was usually tight. Our family never lived beyond our means, a meme that lives on in my cells. I was in the UK to travel primarily, so every hard-earned penny was put aside for just that, betwixt my basic monthly expenses. I wasn’t much of a drinker (some refer to it as a cheap drunk) and that suited my purse just fine. I was and still am more of a grazer, preferring several smaller meals as opposed to one large meal in one sitting (especially at night) which leaves me feeling like an anaconda that swallowed a sheep.

It was (and still occasionally is) hard for me ordering from a menu. I was used to buying my groceries at stores like Checkers or Shoprite and could barely justify the prices in the wake of that. And then, there was the currency conversion to contend with on this occasion… but I bit the bullet and self-admonished, “This is a once-in-a-blue-moon affair, just enjoy it you wet blanket!”.  I ordered a glass of tap water on the rocks to quench my thirst, a chili burger and a glass of Merlot, which I elegantly sipped during the course of the evening. I rounded off my order with a cup of filter coffee.  The others, however, ordered a focaccia to share, then starters, main meal and dessert, all strung together with several versions of drinks, some of which I’d never even heard of before. When the bill came, one of them piped up: “Shall we make it a whip then gals?”. They proceeded to divide the bill up evenly amongst all of us! My portion was now at least four times more than I expected it to be based on what I consumed and my portion of the ten percent gratuity. I wanted to protest, but felt so uncomfortable at the prospect. Needless to say, that night put me back quite a bit and left me reluctant to accept any similar invitations again.

It has happened a good few times since then… another incident was whilst north of South Africa for work. I went out with my American colleagues who are and still remain sterling people (so this is NOT personal).  However, our spending priorities and financial stances emerge divergent. Once again, I ordered only a main meal. It wasn’t so important to me to try everything on the menu of this upmarket restaurant… sharing in the d├ęcor, ambience and company was enough to make it a most memorable experience.  Larry suggested we order a bottle of wine. I was keen for wine too (as I often am!), so figured it was more economical if we got a bottle and shared it anyway. I let him to choose the type. He had starters, mains and dessert… and a  couple of bourbons for closing. Yet again, the bill came and it was proposed, by the most profligate patron of course, that we split it. And, guess what? The bottle of wine he ordered was the equivalent of six hundred ront! Heaven forbid, shall I pan for gold in my urine the next day? This time I did remonstrate, as politely as possible. Of course, I did pay for half the bottle of wine because I did drink it, but chose to pay only for that which I ordered beyond that plus tip.  Outspoken Eric (one of the things I do love about him), who also partook frugally and should have felt the same way as I did about the arrangement, got decidedly irritated with me, “Come on! You have the same daily per diem allocation as we do, why are you being so grudging?” I proceeded to explain as eloquently as possible,  “Yes, it is true, I do have the same daily  per diem allocation as you but, in the first instance, my domestic currency is 1:1 as opposed to your 8:1. Secondly, it is MY per diem and surely I have the right to choose how I spend it – perhaps I would rather save some of it for a much-needed massage at the hotel spa rather than fritter it on food and drinks, never mind subsidizing someone else’s opulent tastes. It’s not that I am a tight-fisted person by nature, it is just that circumstances sometimes make it so that I have to be tight-fisted to make ends meet – you don’t know what my financial responsibilities are or where I come from. Please don’t make me feel uncomfortable for sticking to my own set of principles.” They accepted my rebuttal but the tension could be cut with a knife.

Shooters are another thorn in my side. I don’t like most shooters, and when I do order one (either a Jagermeister for its digestive benefit or a Zambuca because I love the taste of liquorice) I don’t down it but sip it, much to the amusement (and sometimes annoyance) of my company.  When I down something it is because I don’t like the taste of it but have to drink it… like medicine! And most of these swigs are R18-R20 a shot – two or three down the gullet, and the cost of my meal is matched! If you offer me one and I say, “No, thank you,” it means I really don’t want one but appreciate the offer.  If you still get me one and then try to force me to have it, do you expect me to pay for it too? If I pass it on because I am driving and don’t want to get drunk (or have a hangover tomorrow), do you also expect me to pay for it?  When the inflated-by-drinks bill arrives, are you going to roll your eyes, raise your eyebrow, shake your head and judge me when I only give in the money I truly owe?

Considerate people won’t make me feel bad for being me.  Considerate people will respect my choices and acknowledge the good intentions behind them: I will not drive under the influence nor will I risk depriving my dependents or compromise my financial commitments and goals by my own improvidence or those of others.  I don’t impose my spending habits or preferences on others and reserve my judgment of others’ spending habits and preferences all the same. Can I not expect the same in return? Since when is personal thriftiness considered a breach of savoir-faire? Am I hurting you, stealing from you, or putting you out of a comfort zone? Okay, so it makes working out the bill a little more complicated, but we do have the time and how often do we get to practice a little mathematics these days, eh? I'll gladly do the calculations if it bothers you so.

Those who know me well, know how generous I am. I have been able to help friends and family out from time to time BECAUSE I have always saved for that rainy day or disbursed smartly. If I am in a position to do so, I shall invite whomever out for a meal and voluntarily and happily foot the bill. If I am in a position to do so, I shall openly offer to pay for more than I personally owe. But, let it be my prerogative and let it be my decision, please.  If I am invited out, I shall announce upfront my justified wish to ‘go Dutch’ and I shouldn’t have to provide an explanation or be put on an unfounded guilt trip.

You order what you want and pay your dues, and I’ll do the same. Simple. There’s no reason for it to come between us all having a genuinely good time out. And if you don’t like or respect the way I think, then I guess it’s just plain tough luck.

P.S. There’s even been academic research on this topic! If you can handle the highfalutin jargon, visit this link: The Inefficiency of Splitting the Bill